In a move to accelerate the community's investment in Jewish engagement in the next generation, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has launched the Fund for the Future.
Seeking to raise tens of millions of dollars, the Fund for the Future will quickly infuse needed capital into gateway experiences for young Jews over the next five years, with plans for sustainability of critical Next Generation programs in the years that follow. Initial gifts totaling over $11 million have already been raised.
"This is not an initiative born out of crisis, this is an initiative born of opportunity," said Bill Silverstein, Fund for the Future Chair. "Over the last decade, we have invested heavily in new ways to connect young Jews to Israel, to Jewish life, and to one another. Every year, we and our community partners engage more children, more teens, more college students, more young adults, and more young families in Jewish life.
"We have developed the experience and expertise to take Jewish engagement to a transformational level in Chicago and we are ready to create many, many more exciting opportunities for Jewish involvement across our community," Silverstein said. "But we need additional support to do that."
All gifts to the Fund for the Future will be recognized as gifts to the Jewish Federation Centennial Campaign-and also will be highlighted at a special May 29, 2019 community event honoring Steven B. Nasatir's 40 years as President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
Commitment to Jewish continuity has been a hallmark of Nasatir's tenure, and he has long held that Chicago's Jewish community needs to send more children to Jewish pre-schools, Jewish camps, and Jewish day schools; bring more teens and college students to Israel; and ensure that more young adults and young families are building Jewish homes and connecting to community.
To that end, the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has pioneered and supported wide-ranging programs to make Jewish life more accessible and affordable, from JUF Right Start preschool gift vouchers and free monthly PJ Library books for young families; to scholarships for Jewish summer camp and Jewish Day Schools; to the Ta'am Yisrael 8th grade Israel Trip and Springboard alternative spring breaks; to Hillels of Illinois, JUF Birthright Israel trips, and longer duration Israel Experiences like MASA and Onward Israel for young adults.